Life at the Furnace. Copper producing settlement ecosystems in the north-western Troodos, Cyprus

Name of applicant

Kristina Winther-Jacobsen


University of Copenhagen


DKK 4,134,801



Type of grant

Strategic Grants


Life at the Furnace is a landscape archaeological project working in the north-western Troodos Mountains of Cyprus. The project will examine changes in the landscape over the past 4,500 years. It has a particular focus on the complex human and environmental impacts of large-scale copper production during the foreign control of Cyprus under the Roman Empire from the 1st century BC to the 7th century AD. The project will study how the choices that supported copper production affected the landscape and living conditions and their sustainability. An in-depth study of food supply, agriculture, mining and forestry, imported goods and colonial relations will further reveal life at the furnace and place Cyprus within the economic network of the Roman Empire.


The project provides a historical perspective on Responsible consumption and production (UN Sustainable Development Goal 12). Life at the Furnace is designed to grapple with the largely untapped potential of archaeology to contribute significantly to the current debate on global issues of sustainability. The study will show if and how sustainability was achieved in the relationship between consumption and production within a colonial setting.


Life at the Furnace maps different cultural and natural phenomena through international archaeological field missions involving researchers from humanities and earth sciences. It brings together state-of-the-art techniques: archaeological survey to map human traces on the surface, and geophysical survey to see beneath the surface. Geoarchaeological survey (coring) will map the sedimentary record and changes in vegetation in the past. Geochemical analysis of products and by-products of copper mining and smelting will be used to investigate pollution. Studies of artefacts and ancient written sources will tie it all together.

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